Here are some of the most common questions I’ve received about Building a Second Brain, my online course on transforming your productivity using digital note-taking.

What is this course actually about?
This course is about organizing your knowledge, not as an end in itself, but to support creative work and give you the confidence to tackle more ambitious, more fulfilling projects.

Instead of talking only about abstract concepts, I’ll show you a tangible approach you can implement step by step, while also explaining the underlying principles that can be applied anywhere.

The promise of the course is that “You will learn how to capture, organize, and share your ideas and insights using digital notes, in a systematic approach that you trust to support creative breakthroughs in your work.”

For a short introduction to what this means check out my post on the Evernote blog, and for a longer overview see this one. You can also read how previous participants summarized the course in one tweet.

How much time will this take?
The course is self-paced, so you can take as much or as little time as you want. Each of the 8 units will take approximately 15–25m to watch the pre-recorded unit video, and another 15–25 minutes to watch the accompanying walkthrough videos. The time required for the exercises, discussions in the online forum, and implementation depend on how fast you move and how deep you want to go.

My recommendation is to complete the core material over 4–6 weeks at most, leaving the optional stuff for later. This will ensure you get to a finish line and have a good understanding of the overall system. In my experience, taking longer than that usually indicates you’re getting bogged down in the details.

The amount of time needed for implementation varies A LOT, but it is something that should be done initially during the course, and then improved slowly over time and in the flow of daily work.

Are there any pre-requisites for this course?
Although there are no formal prerequisites, I expect you to be reasonably fluent in using consumer technology, and for the examples, you’ll need to know the basics of how to use Evernote. I recommend Evernote’s free Quick Start guide for a brief introduction, Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials to learn more, and Stacey Harmon’s Radical Productivity with Evernote course for a comprehensive program.

What happens in the live sessions?
The group calls are optional, and will be relatively unstructured and free-flowing. We will discuss your current challenges and surface any relevant resources we think will be valuable. They may include presentations of supplementary material, our ongoing research and learnings, or breakout rooms to share your progress with peers.

What if I don’t use Evernote?
None of the foundational concepts I’ll be teaching you depend on Evernote or any other particular program to work. We’ll be using Evernote as an example, to be able to show you a real working system, instead of speaking in generalities.

But please note that all the examples, case studies, and templates are exclusively in Evernote, and we cannot officially support any other programs you decide to use.

Note: as of version 8.0, we are also officially supporting Microsoft OneNote with a resource guide and implementation examples.

I’m not an entrepreneur, freelancer, or senior level in my career — is this course right for me?
Hell yes. One of my central beliefs is that the walls that once separated these categories are breaking down. We are all a startup of one now. Even the largest companies are looking for “intrapreneurs” who can lead “internal startups.” Even the most secure employees need to develop a body of knowledge to leverage for their next career move. And it never hurts to have a side project or extra income stream in these uncertain times.

In BASB we’ll be diving into the very cutting edge of productivity, knowledge management, and project management. I can’t think of a better way to jumpstart an early-stage career than benefitting from the accumulated knowledge in these areas. Not to mention, you’ll be learning alongside standout performers in the world’s most challenging fields.

I’m an experienced researcher, businessperson, or content creator — do I have anything to learn here?
I’ve found that the participants who get the most out of the course are those with the most experience in the areas I’ll be covering. Part of this is shedding light on assumptions and habits they don’t think to question. Equally important, they often find helping fellow participants understand knowledge management principles gives clarity to their own work. That’s why social learning works!

Personal knowledge management is a very new field, and there is no “best practice” on how to do it. This course represents my life’s work (so far) in borrowing from any conceivable source that might help us do it better.

How much access do I get to Tiago?
Although I can’t promise a personal reply to each and every message, I will occasionally check in to the online forum and Slack, to answer questions, provide feedback, and share my private notes with resources that address common pain points.

What kinds of industries or professions does this work for?
With the 25,000 or so participants in my previous online courses, and another 3,000 in live workshops and corporate trainings, I’ve seen a common theme: everyone struggles with managing the massive information flow inherent in knowledge work. I’ve designed this course to focus on methods that apply equally to anyone who thinks for a living.

I’ll be able to share numerous examples from my work coaching individuals and consulting with companies, and the other participants always have many of their own examples and discoveries to share. Yet another benefit of group learning!

Where does this material come from?
I’ll draw heavily from the fields of behavioral science, cognitive psychology, design thinking, human-centered and UX design, and theory of constraints. But the primary source is my experience consulting, training, and coaching some of the highest-performing creative professionals in the world, in multiple industries, inside organizations and out.

Is there a money-back guarantee?
Yes of course. If you watch the video lessons and complete the exercises and still don’t find the course valuable, we’ll happily refund your full payment within 30 days of your purchase date. I have no doubt you will find the approach so compelling, you’ll be hungry to remain part of the community we’re building.

Don’t forget I have a pre-written letter template to get approval from your boss or HR department for reimbursement.

That’s it for now. I genuinely hope to see many of you online in the coming months. I’m extremely excited to share the changes and improvements I’ve made to what I believe is the absolute best productivity training in the world.


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